That’s what I face every morning. I pull into the school parking lot and make my decision. Do I park in the area on the far side of the school where they have direct entry into the second floor or do I park at the end of the building close to my classroom? I have to sign in at the front office (which is on the second floor) so it makes sense to park on the far side of the building, go directly inside, sign in and go to my classroom (which is also on the second floor). The problem is that my classroom is the very last room in the building and it’s 364 steps from my car to my classroom. At the end of the day when I’m tired and my ankles are killing me, I have to lug my computer, purse, briefcase and whatever else I’m dragging home with me all the way down the entire length of the building. Three hundred and sixty four steps. I’ve counted them.
On the other hand, I can park at the far end of the building, which is really close to my classroom, and haul all my junk up three flights of steps. Eleven steps at each juncture. I arrive in my classroom gasping for breath, drop my purse, computer, lunch, briefcase and coffee cup on the nearest table and attempt to regain control before I walk all the way down the hall (220 steps) and sign in at the office. Then it’s another 220 steps back to my room. I always take a peek around the corner when I get to the top of the stairs. Desperately hoping that Ms. T. (cute as a button, 100 pounds dripping wet, first year teacher) isn’t in her room. She usually gets to school early and, if she beats me, her door will be open and she’ll call out a cheery little greeting. Forcing me to answer when I can’t even breath. I suck it in, unlock my door as quick as I can and collapse with a big whoosh from holding my breath.
Why do I struggle with this decision? I usually park close to my room because, even though 33 stairs are torture and they’re followed by 220 steps down to the office to sign in and another 220 back to my room, I know, at the end of the day that it’s an easy 33 steps down and another 40 to my car. And I know, at the end of the day, that’s going to be about all I can handle.
So what does that say? That one of my major decisions every day has to be whether to park on the side of the building by my room and deal with steps or the side of the building by the office and deal with distance? And really…should any of this make me think about retirement every day as I make my decision? I wrestle with the parking decision and, in the back of my mind, I’m reminding myself…”Another four months and I’ll never have to face those damn steps again.”
So I’m trying. I actually went upstairs this morning and walked on my treadmill. Only went a mile but it’s a start. The poor thing was covered in dust and supporting a box of Christmas wrapping accoutrements, ten or twelve books I’ve already read and plan on giving to Mom, a pair of tennis shoes, and two suitcases. My poor treadmill has become a holding area for household items headed for the attic or pending delivery to Mom or Goodwill. I can’t even remember the last time I walked on the treadmill. At least six or eight months. Probably longer. I’d planned on starting with fifteen minutes but figured I’d be gasping for breath after five. Surprisingly, I went for twenty minutes. I could have gone longer but didn’t want to be nursing aches and pains tomorrow.
So I’m working at it. I usually need a few days of exercise before I begin to see the value in counting calories. It’s a lot easier to do when I’m reminded about how much work it takes to burn off a couple hundred calories.